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Author Thomas Kidd

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” would make it on my list of must-reads for American cultural literacy. Written as he awaited release from a Birmingham, Alabama, jail in 1963, King explained why the nonviolent protests couldn’t “wait” any longer, as some moderate white Christians asked him to do. “When you are harried […] Read More

When Mitt Romney lost the presidential election in 2012, many disappointed supporters – including a number of evangelicals – suggested that his defeat spoke to an American culture in decline. For politics to change, they say, culture must change. Glenn Beck, for example, tweeted that “the time for politics is over. I’m doubling down on […] Read More

How is there still massive ignorance of the Bible when it is more widely available than ever before? I reflected on this dilemma of mass Bible ownership versus declining Bible “engagement” at the end of my Weekly Standard review of John Fea’s excellent new history of the American Bible Society (ABS). “As the ABS observes […] Read More

Ben Carson stirred up the latest Republican primary tempest last weekend when he volunteered the opinion that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” What should we make of this statement? First, it speaks to a pervasive religious ignorance in our political culture, of which Carson is hardly […] Read More

I have a pretty strong personal history of wrestling with the memory of the Confederacy. Having lived all over the South, I grew up hearing stories from relatives about the “Lost Cause” and how the Yankees took everything we had during Reconstruction. There was little mention of the role of slavery in the Confederacy. I […] Read More

Collin Hansen’s new book, “Blind Spots,” has initiated a helpful conversation about what American evangelicals conventionally miss when their faith is defined by insular, America-intensive subcultures. I found especially instructive his interview with Gloria Furman about what she learned about blind spots as she has lived and ministered in Dubai. We’re inevitably shaped by the […] Read More

Baptist pastor James Manning of Providence, Rhode Island, wrote to English Baptist leader John Ryland in November 1776, apprising him of trouble in the American colonies. Two winters before, Providence’s Baptists had seen a prodigious revival, with perhaps 200 people experiencing conversion within just a few months. But Manning thought the outbreak of war in […] Read More

Baptists unduly rescinded the offer to Ben Carson to speak at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastors’ Conference because of what critics see as irrelevant theological differences between evangelicals and Seventh-Day Adventists, Carson’s denomination. Megachurch pastor Perry Noble called those who asked the SBC to retract the invitation “theological police” who “love theology more than Jesus.” […] Read More

Is it easier to live out biblical Christianity in a small church or a big church? Before engaging this question, it should be noted that there are healthy and unhealthy big and small churches. What I’m comparing are healthy big churches, especially in areas (such as Texas) where Christianity still functions like a kind of […] Read More

In the fading light of a cool autumn evening, 25-year-old evangelist George Whitefield ascended a platform on Boston Common on Oct. 12, 1740. Before him stood 20,000 people. If the crowd estimates were reasonably accurate, this was the largest assembly ever gathered in the history of the American colonies. Boston’s entire population was only 17,000 […] Read More